Archives: ADA

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2019 EPLI Trends Report Published

Workplace law changes constantly. Employers and EPL carriers need to keep up with expanding risks, changing legal obligations, reason-defying jury verdicts, the #MeToo movement, and a record number of threatened and asserted claims associated with these changes. Our 2019 EPLI Trends Report gives an overview of the related risks and exposures employers and, by extension, … Continue Reading

Employee’s Receipt of Social Security Benefits May Prevent a Subsequent Claim for Disability Discrimination under the ADA

An employee who applies for and receives Social Security disability benefits may be judicially estopped from bringing a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) according to a recent Louisiana District Court case. Tanner v. BD LaPlace, LLC. Paul Tanner was separated from his employment with BD LaPlace LLC (“BD”) for … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Employer That Terminated Disabled Employee for Misconduct

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld dismissal of failure to accommodate and disability discrimination claims where, for several years, the employer provided accommodations relating to plaintiff’s mental health (including directing co-workers not to startle plaintiff). Scheidler v. State of Indiana et al. Despite that admonition, a supervisor reached toward her with a choking … Continue Reading

Court Grants Summary Judgment Where Decision-Maker Was Unaware of Plaintiff’s Medical History

Employers often are reluctant to take adverse actions against poorly performing employees with a history of medical conditions due to the cost and risk involved in litigation (even though no federal, state or local law is intended to protect deficient job performance).   In an instance where an employer decided to discharge a worker whose job … Continue Reading

“Regarded As” Disability Claim Does Not Require Proof of an Employer’s Subjective Belief

Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), an individual meets the requirement of being “regarded as” having a disability, and thus is protected from discrimination, where his or her employer believes that he or she is substantially limited in a major life activity regardless of whether he or she actually is disabled.  Prior to … Continue Reading

Pregnancy-Related Restroom Breaks May Be Protected Under ADA, and Not Title VII

Claiming that frequent restroom breaks were required by a pregnancy-related medical condition, a former employee’s claims were allowed to proceed under the Americans with Disability Act, but not Title VII.  In Wadley v. Kiddie Academy International, Inc., plaintiff alleged that the employer discriminated against her because of a pregnancy-related disability by discharging her for leaving … Continue Reading

Employer’s FMLA Policy and Legitimate Business Reason Lead to Early Dismissal of Employee’s Claim

In Everson v. SCI Tennessee Funeral Services, LLC., the federal court granted summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s FMLA claims because the worker  failed to follow Defendant’s FMLA notice requirements when requesting leave.  As discussed below, Plaintiff’s ADA claim also was dismissed. In this lawsuit,  Plaintiff alleged, among other things, that Defendant retaliated against him for requesting FMLA … Continue Reading

Employer’s Ultimatum Supports Employee’s ADA Failure to Accommodate Claim

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in McClain v. Tenax Corp. recently denied in part an employer’s motion for summary judgment on a disabled employee’s failure to accommodate claim under the ADA.  The Court held the ADA-required interactive process never took place where the employer’s issued an ultimatum to the … Continue Reading

Medical Residency Program Demonstrates Importance of Documenting and Consistently Applying Job Requirements

In Rodrigo v. Carle Foundation Hospital, No.16-1403 (7th Cir.), plaintiff was a medical resident in a three-year residency program (the “Program”).  In addition to completing certain rotations and passing parts one and two of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (“USMLE”) or (“Step 1” and “Step 2,” respectively), residents were required to pass Step 3 … Continue Reading

Inclement Weather May Require Employers To Warm To Reasonable Accommodations

To enable employees to deal with natural disasters and severe local weather, employers should prepare to address issues arising from employees’ inability to get to work.  By itself, being stuck at home because of a blizzard is not a protected activity.  This constitutes a personal absence warranting no protection under the law.  However, if the … Continue Reading

Be Prepared: Changes to Workplace Wellness Programs Coming in 2019

Though still a year away, employee health plans are in for significant change beginning January 1, 2019.  This modification is the result of a longstanding argument about plan administration.  In October 2016, the AARP sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), arguing that the regulations interpreting the Americans With Disabilities Act and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination … Continue Reading

Listing Essential Function in Job Description Essential to Defeat ADA Claim

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated the lower court’s grant of summary judgment that dismissed a disability discrimination claim brought by a female police detective.  Years earlier, the detective suffered a “small heart attack” that the Police Department felt presented a significant risk if she suffered a Taser shock.  As part of the Taser … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Multi-Month Leave of Absence Not a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

Determining how long an employer must hold a position for an absent worker is a question that vexes Human resources Directors and Operations management. The Seventh Circuit recently ruled, in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., that an employee’s request for extended leave after having exhausted his Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) entitlement is not a … Continue Reading

Top 5 Tips for Conducting Pre-Employment Medical Exams

In a recently filed lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contends that Consolidated Edison Co. (“Con Ed”) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”) by its use of pre-employment medical examinations. According to the Complaint, Con Ed required applicants to submit to pre-employment medical examinations … Continue Reading

Will Employers Have to Accommodate Employees Who Test Positive for Marijuana?

On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that under the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination law an employer may be required to accommodate an employee who is a current user of medical marijuana regardless of the employer’s drug free workplace and drug testing policies.  For a complete discussion on the ruling and tips on how … Continue Reading

Recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Case Demonstrates Importance of Documentation of the Interactive Process

On May 4, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Brown v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors affirmed the summary judgment dismissal of a former employee’s disability discrimination claim under the ADA.   While the employer consistently sought to find reasonable accommodations, plaintiff failed to engage in the interactive process because neither … Continue Reading

Federal District Court Rules Federal Protections Expanded for Transgendered Employees

According to one federal court judge, a transgendered former employee can proceed with an employment discrimination case under the American With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) alleging that she was mistreated and fired based on her gender-identity-related disability. Blatt v. Cabela’s Retail, Inc., No. 5:14-cv-04822 (E.D. Pa. May 18, 2017). While courts have recognized federal protections for … Continue Reading

Sensitivity to Electromagnetic Voltage Not a “Disability” Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment dismissing a former employee’s claim that he was terminated because of his purported disability, “sensitivity to electromagnetic voltage.”  Hirmiz v. New Harrison Hotel Corp., Docket No. 16-3915 (7th Cir. Apr. 6, 2017).  The Court held that “sensitivity to electromagnetic voltage” was not a … Continue Reading

“Ignorance” May Not Be Bliss: Court Denies Employer’s Motion for Summary Judgment on an ADA Claim

In Preeson v. Parkview Medical Center, a federal court in Colorado denied Defendant’s motion for summary dismissal of a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Plaintiff alleged, in relevant part, that her termination from employment constituted discrimination on account of a disability.  Plaintiff suffered from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (“CVS”).  As such, she contended … Continue Reading

Employer Will Have to Do Heavy Lifting After Court Denies Motion for Summary Judgment

In Crain v. Roseville Rehabilitation and Health Care, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment dismissing a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act.  In Crain, Plaintiff alleged that her employer discriminated against her under the ADA because of … Continue Reading

Employer Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Migraines Results in Legal Headaches

In Bethscheider v. Westar Energy, the United States District Court for the District of Kansas denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Alleged by Plaintiff was that her migraine headaches constituted a disability entitling her to a reasonable accommodation.  The Company terminated Plaintiff for “excessive absenteeism” despite the fact … Continue Reading
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